† "The goodness of God is the highest object of prayer, and it reaches down to our lowest need. It quickens our soul and gives it life, and makes it grow in grace and virtue." — St. Julian of Norwich
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Know this: just as the wood of the ark saved the just from drowning, so too, by the mystery of His wooden Cross, does Christ, the Church's God and King, save us from drowning in the sea of this world. In the symbol of a thing made of wood He gave human beings a foreshadowing of both the judgment to come and the salvation of the just." — St. Augustine, p.137 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
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Saint Peter of Alcantara
Saint of the Day for October 26 (1499 – October 18, 1562)
Saint Peter of Alcantara's Story
Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to Saint Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter's day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended.
Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest, he was elected provincial at the age of 39, and he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.
Peter's penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter's reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."
In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.
As spiritual director to Saint Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.
He was canonized in 1669. Reflection
Poverty was a means and not an end for Peter. The goal was following Christ in ever greater purity of heart. Whatever obstructed that path could be eliminated with no real loss. The philosophy of our consumer age—you are worth what you own—may find Peter of Alcantara's approach severe. Ultimately, his approach is life-giving while consumerism is deadly. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Peter Alcantara is September 22.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.
Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not men, knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying, knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven and that with him there is no partiality.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14 R. (13c) The Lord is faithful in all his words. Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words. Making known to men your might and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words. The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words. Alleluia See 2 Thess 2:14 R. Alleluia, alleluia. God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from.' And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!' And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Unlike Jesus, we seem very often too concerned about numbers as if that is the most important sign of the presence of the Kingdom and of its power to save the world. Rather than on numbers, Jesus asks us to concentrate on entering through the narrow door. This phrase has given rise to all sorts of negative spiritualities, but what Jesus is saying is to take up the cross and follow him every day of our lives. It is the cross that will bring us joy and everlasting life.
▪ He also foretells we will be surprised by those who enter and those who don't. However hard we try, we often find ourselves excluding persons or groups from salvation. Jesus invites us to be wary of judging others, and to believe that all can be open to God's loving offer of salvation.
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the Word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. (Ephesians 6:1-2)
Did you know that it's almost impossible to draw a "typical" set of tree roots? As similar as two trees may be by type or area, researchers have found that no two root systems are the same. Each one has modified itself to adapt to the soil, resources, and obstacles in its environment. Each one has found a way around the rocks or compacted soil in its location so that it can keep drawing the nourishment it needs.
Interestingly, a tree's root system never stops growing. It is constantly perfecting itself and adapting to its environment to keep the tree alive. The roots work almost all year long; some can soak up one hundred gallons of water a day and dispel that water into the air as moisture in just as much time.
Unfortunately, as effective as a root system can be, sometimes damaged roots can affect the health of the tree. Parts of the tree may die off if the roots are damaged, and the roots will struggle to grow around the damage as the tree finds a way to thrive.
As you think of St. Paul's call to honor our parents, consider taking some time to seek gratitude and healing for the roots of your family tree. God has given each of us a particular root system—our parents and grandparents—for a reason, and he asks us to honor them. He knows that this commandment is not always easy, but still he asks us to try. He knows how hard it can be for some of us to honor our parents, especially if they have caused us heartache and difficulty. That's why he has special grace for us to help us grow around the challenges and find healing, even if our parents are not with us anymore. We just need to ask for his help and continue to ask. It may not happen overnight (it usually doesn't), but it can happen.
How can you honor your parents today? How can you sink your roots more deeply into Jesus so that you will find the healing you need?
"Lord, thank you for being with me. Please help me honor my parents just a little bit more today."
We heard today's Holy Word "Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise...". The Lord does promise many things, and it's always a promise of an offering of Himself. It is an exemplary promise, in that it both sets the way of life for a Christ follower, or it calls for the inverse action that it promises, a just judgement, a closing of doors, a closing of a heart. The Lord knows it is tough. I've prayed lately within the last week, "Lord, this is tough, following You, holiness, purity, it's not easy". No answer was heard because it was more of a complaint, a whining, and the only thing I've got is a verse that says "you've not yet shed blood in resisting temptation" and we give up. Honoring our Father in Heaven is being called by honoring our parents on earth. Honor, respect, love, and charity, if not in gratitude to them alone...then to God all the more. Because God is calling us to love Him and love Him through the loves we have on this earth, that is to say: love the right way...HIS Way.
We prayed today "The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down." The Lord is faithful in His promises. The Lord is Holy. We belong to Him, not to this world. He lifts up those falling in spirit, bowed down. This morning, as we were having a safety meeting, I was told that another cousin passed away this morning. We've never really had losses in our family, and this year we've had 4, like all at once. 4 of the songs in the music I sung in the CD, were dedicated to loved ones that passed this year. And so we find ourselves at a loss. Somewhat questioning how this could be, because she was in her late 40's, a lawyer that helped many people and was having a great turn for the Lord in her faith lately, how come? Why? She had just about defeated cancer with the Lord. We have to be on WATCH 24 hours a day. If you wake up in the middle of the night suddenly (for no reason), it means it's time to pray. There is a reason for everything and God knows why. The Lord is faithful to His Word, and His word is work, it is a life, it is the Way of Life, that of honor to Him, and Glory to Him.
The Lord comes into our lives today ""Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough." We find ourselves as weaklings...not strong enough to resist temptations. I know it happens to everyone. We have to be strong in our faith, and it is the same as saying "we have to be strong in our Love" of God. Just because you can't hear His voice don't mean He isn't saying "I Love You". Next time someone hugs you or smiles at you, think of God. Think of Him saying "I Love You". If you see 3 flowers or 3 birds in the air, it is a sign "I Love You". For there are 3 in one God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I Love You. His love is strong. And it's easy to love God, just tell Him and ask Him for love to Love Him more. I'm saying this so that we may be strong swimmers to swim against the current that leads to hell, to swim to safety, to the shores. Be Strong. "I Can Do All Things Through the Lord Who Strengthens Me". Ph 4:13. Strength, only in Him. I am weak when I am not with Him and in Him and through Him. He is the nourishment of the vine. He is the flourishing of Life in the vine. Sin makes us weak. Sin cuts off life giving blood. Therefore, be strong. Be strong in your love of God. Let us be strong swimmers, in this struggle to remain faithful and in love with God. If I love you more, it's because I love God more. The Lord says "'I do not know where you are from." when the strangers are knocking on His door in Heaven. "Who are you?" He says it twice "'I do not know where you are from." "Where are you from?" "Where did you come from?" For all I know, you could be an impostor! Let us reflect on the narrow door, the less attractive life, the smaller more inconvenient door, the way less chosen, the harder to get to and harder to get through. My mom used to tell us as kids "the little bitty path to Heaven is full of thorns, and the way to hell is wide open with roses and inviting". I ask myself and the Lord "why is it like that Lord?" Why does it seem so hidden? I don't get a response, but I know it's the only way. The Only way to Heaven. Lest you try to beat around the bush and enter other ways. It's the Only way Jesus chose. It's the Only Way our Lord taught us.
To Him, our Father, all Honor and Glory Forever
and Mother in Heaven, pray for us as we strive on the little way to the little door....